Birth control may affect long-term relationships
April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM ET

Birth control may affect long-term relationships

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

A recent study shows that women with lower testosterone levels - typically caused by the use of hormone-based oral contraceptives like the pill - are more attracted to men who also have low testosterone levels.

Previous studies have shown that the less testosterone a man has, the less likely he is to cheat, the more supportive he is, and the better he is at providing for his family. Sounds good, right?

Not quite. Previous studies have also shown that most women are historically more sexually attracted to higher testosterone levels. And the mothers in the study who eventually went off birth control post-wedding reported less sexual contentment than other women; they found their husbands less attractive and less sexually exciting once they went off the pill.

Dr. Craig Roberts of Stirling University questioned more than 2,500 women from around the world for his research. Did their taste in men shift? Or did their birth control have a “love-potion” type of effect?

When a woman uses hormonal birth control containing estrogen, she decreases her levels of available testosterone. And while women have much less testosterone in their systems than men - women’s bodies contain about 10% the amount of testosterone men do - what they do have helps fuel sexual desire, fantasy and the ability to become naturally lubricated in response to arousal.

So it makes sense that when a woman’s testosterone levels are diminished even further by something like the pill, she might be left feeling blasé about sex: hence her potential attraction to a low-testosterone male.

So it may not be as much the issue of going off birth control as it going on it in the first place. Sexual health expert Dr. Madeleine Castellanos cautions women to think carefully about their choice of contraceptive: "Some of these side effects are so serious that I now urge young women to consider just using condoms and leaving the birth control pills behind."

In addition to libido-shifts, some women who go on hormonal birth control experience pain during intercourse due to irritation of the tissues surrounding the opening of the vagina. In many cases, this is because she is unable to become physically aroused. And those who don’t deal with the issue may actually go on to develop vestibulodynia - a chronic and significant pain surrounding the opening of the vagina and the area of the perineum.

But for those who don’t want to give up the pill, there are women who find that triphasic birth control pills (different amounts of hormones every week) have less of an impact on their sex drive than monophasic pills (same amount of hormones each dose). Of course, hormones affect every woman differently, and there’s no guarantee that a triphasic pill will make much of a difference for you.

So it’s important for a woman to do her due diligence and weigh the pros and cons of various birth control options before settling on one. And know that the changes to a woman’s testosterone level (potentially diminished when she goes on, and then increased when she goes off) could alter her libido and create gaps with that of her partner’s.

Dr. Roberts says women who met their partner while taking hormonal birth control should consider switching to another method several months in advance of tying the knot in order to assess whether their feelings for their partner will change or stay the same.

But before you or your partner do anything of the sort, just make sure you have alternative contraception in place - there’s nothing like a sudden unintended pregnancy to put a damper on one’s sex life.

And for those women who do choose to stay on the pill, the study offers a silver lining: the women on the pill were happier overall in their relationships and more likely to stay together than their non-pill-taking counterparts. The benefits of the non-sexual aspects of the relationship outweighed any sexual downsides.

So perhaps it’s better to be evenly matched at the low-testosterone end of the spectrum (with a man who is more likely to be faithful) than potentially mismatched.

soundoff (211 Responses)
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    January 31, 2013 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. staceybruno

    I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

    September 4, 2013 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Maryann Smith

    I am so happy to let the whole word know how this powerful spell caster saved my marriage. Everything was going down the drain as my husband can not stop cheating on me with other women. It became used to always heating on me. I tried to make him stop, but I couldn?t help the situation, the more I tried, the harder it becomes. At times we will fight and go apart for some months and we will come back again just because of our kids. One day a friend told me about this spell caster who helped her too, his name is Dr.guruji from india, she said he uses white magic spells to solve spiritual problems. I decided to give it a try, I contacted him and he told me it will take just 2 to 3 days and I will see great changes in my husband. He actually cast a spell, believe me after 2 to 3 days of the spell, my husband was confessing different names of woman he has slept with. He begged for forgiveness and never to try it again. From that day till now, my mind is at rest. My husband dislike every other women on earthspiritualist except me. And am so happy to have him for myself alone. The spell caster?s contact is gurujispellhome@yahoo.com if you have any problem you can contact him for help the man is a grate

    October 13, 2013 at 00:01 | Report abuse | Reply
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    November 14, 2013 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Kite Monica

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    November 24, 2013 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply

    I AM CHINNEL LOUSI FROM USA, I am out here to spread this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back.I was going crazy when my husband left me and my 3 kids for another woman last YEAR, But when i met a friend that introduced me to DR:OKODUWA the great messenger to the
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    March 24, 2014 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rebecca George

    I and my boyfriend have been dating for four year now and just last three months he told me, he no longer have feeling for me. He did not just say it like that he made it seem like it was his fault. He was like he has been thinking about his life and he feels like he doesn't know himself anymore and that he doesn't want to hurt me in the processes. I mean we all know those line i have used them and we all have the next words are always "I think we should take a break" which mean i want out of this relationship. I wish he told me all those things before he asked me to marry him i would totally move on with my life but now, it turn out that we were already engaged and for six months at that. I felt bonded to him my whole heart beats and skips just for him for the record his name is Sean. I tried all i could to get by knowing or having the thought in my heart that we could still fix us only to realize he broke up with me to actually date a girl i he meant. It was like he got tired of me or something. I basically never turned any of his request down what ever it was. Sean was literally the first guy i had sex with the every first day i meant them. Usually i make them wait for 40 day but with Sean everything felt right. Anytime i was with him i felt this pain in my heart it was like its bleeding but it was bleeding love. It was so magically that i can't just explain it. So living without him knowing he left me for another girl was torture. I tried to talking to him in every way i could to make him see i love him but it was impossible. He made me feel like trash like am good for nothing and he called me fat and ugly. That really broke me down i could not believe it that of every person i have ever dated the one i love the most called me fat and ugly. My friends asked me to stop fooling myself trying to make him love me again but i was too in love i mean the heart wants what it wants right? and the more i tried the more he hated me. I was tagged by his new girlfriend and himself a sociopath. I was losing it and i fell into depression. Heaven know i was gonna kill myself because i really had nothing to leave for and he didn't even care if i lived or died. I know this sound crazy but it was just what happened. Though we dating again with the help of a great and reliable witchdoctor Metodo Acamu, it still hurts a lot that i had to pass through all those pain. All my friend thought i was crazy because even when they tried to help me i pushed them all away so basically i was all alone in my world of pain i had already given up on life i mean i thought to myself if can't have Sean, i was not going to live to watch him be happy with someone else. As foolish and crazy as this my sound , it was what i almost did. I was going to kill him and kill myself after wards. I don't know, some how, maybe the universe wasn't totally again me i came across the name witch doctor Metodo Acamu and his email address on the Internet there were a lot of comments on how real, nice and how much he has helped a lot of people fix there relationship , money issues, jobs and lottery ticket i thought contacting him was the last thing i should try before pushing on with my plan to take the life of the man i love. Believe me i was so lucky to have contacted him. He told me if i had killed Sean i would have tried in so many ways to kill myself to join him but it won't have worked. I don't know how true that is but i know that i was asked to get some materials for the witch doctor to make a spell that will reunite me and my fiancé. I sent him the money for the materials only because i could not get them anyway. He helped me a lot he sent a package for me with ups of which i paid for to get to me from an international. He told me to say what i want when burning the content of package with something that has the smell of incense and that in seven days Sean will be mine again and believe me please that was just what happened. It was so spiritual and out of earth that i could not understand how but i knew it worked for me and it is totally safe like Metodo Acamu told me. I know this all sound crazy but its so true and real life so. You can only know when those who need Metodo Acamu help get it. Contact him her metodoacamufortressx @ yahoo. com

    March 13, 2015 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Luaren Fisher1

    There is a lot i have to say but i really don't know were to start from. I guess i will have to build my story, that is life story form the begin but will try has much to make it short. I fell in love with my boyfriend Daxson about three years ago and since then we have being living together. We are not married or engaged because like he said he wanted to finish his med school and all that. I was not even bothered because we were in love and as long as there is love who really need marriage and somehow even with all the stress he was going through, he finds the time to make me feel loved always. He is literally the definition caring. But here is the twister i never knew or rather he never told me he was scared for being a father at least we never talk about it because it never crossed our mind and we always i mean always played it safe. I was on my pills and he always used protection. Like they say, i guess when its time its time like, i got pregnant. Looking at it then i will say, that was my greatest mistake in life only now i see a baby is really a blessing. Ok let me go back on track. When i told him about it, i couldn't say he was happy or sad but he had an expression on his face like "de f*** i ve got med school and now this ?" but he assured me, it was fine and he was happy and we are going to do it together as a family and i wished all that where true. On my third trimester, he said to my face he was not ready to be a father and was not going to do it with me anymore and that he doesn't think he is gonna be a good father. We all know its hard to believe soon we all gonna be parents but for real, it comes when we are not even prepared for it and all we can do then is accept it as it comes. I tried to make him see what he was doing to me and his baby i mean i loved him so much and i was the happiest woman alive to be carrying his child i just wished he was too. He was not even there to see his girl when she was born he just left me and our baby. I could not understand why i was just too heart broken knowing that he has been the only one in my life for three years and now he just left me with some silly excuse i could not understand. I literally became a single mom for four months before Metodo Acamu a witch doctor helped me get back the man i love. Its not like i couldn't do it all alone i mean take care of my baby girl its just that i loved him so much that i could not leave without him and all i could think of was him. Even with all that happened i could not bring myself to hate him i was only heart broken and wished i could get him back. When i contact Motodo Acamu ,he asked me to get some materials of which he was going to use to prepare a spell that was coming to reunite me, Daxson and April my baby girl. I sent him the money for the materials because it was less stressful and he made me see he was an honest and truthful witch doctor. He helped me a lot, he sent a package to me which i paid for . He told me to burning the content of package with the incense he sent along with the content of the package and in seven days Daxson will be my one and only again. Just as Metodo Acamu said it happened. I can say i was surprise because i have never done this kind of thing before and i was not so sure how it will play out. Though i made Daxson beg, i had to let him into my life and that of April again because that was all i ever wanted. And the spell is totally safe like Metodo Acamu told me and the love is real because the spell only made him see how much i mean to him and how much his life revolves around April and i . Everyone has his or her own opinion about the witch doctor Metodo Acamu but for me he is the reason my family is complete and happy if you want to Contact him use this email
    metodoacamufortressx@ yah oo. com note please use the normal email format where all words and character are joined together

    March 21, 2015 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. kate davies

    My name is katedavies ,i live in Florida,USA,and I’m happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with two kids.A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn’t love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visite [DR ADUDU] So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn’t call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website ,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to the Dr ADUDU for bringing back my husband ,and brought great joy to my family once again. [DR ADUDU], Thanks..

    August 2, 2015 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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